Australian Job Postings Through April 9: Postings Begin April on a Strong Note
Following Easter, Australian job postings are up 35.2% on their level on February 1 last year.
We regularly update this report to track the pandemic’s effects on the labour market. Our methodology changed at the start of 2021, as explained in the methodology note at the end of the post.
Job postings on Indeed are a real-time measure of labour market activity. On April 9 they were tracking 35.2% ahead of their level on February 1 last year, our pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal trends.
Postings have softened over the past week. This could reflect some residual seasonality from Easter, which is typically a slow period for hiring. It also coincides with the end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy on March 28.
In 2020, job postings plunged from mid-March until late April, falling by half, and then gradually improved over the remainder of the year. Victoria’s lengthy second lockdown slowed the recovery, creating a temporary divergence between Victoria and the rest of Australia. Thankfully, there appears to be no lasting impact on Victorian recruitment and short-term lockdowns in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria have had minimal hiring impact.
In the past two-weeks, job postings continued to improve across most states. Posting numbers are healthy across the country and well above pre-pandemic levels.
Compared with last year’s baseline, postings are up 42.2% in Western Australia and 40.2% in New South Wales. Victoria and Queensland have also experienced strong recent gains. Postings in both the territories, along with South Australia, dipped in the past fortnight.
Hiring continues to improve in most occupational groups
Australia’s hiring recovery has been impressive and, although there are some occupations lagging behind, most are heading in the right direction.
The top three occupations were unchanged compared with a fortnight ago. Job postings for cleaning & sanitation roles are up 113% compared with their baseline on February 1 last year. Postings for loading & stocking and logistics support are up 95% and 90%, respectively. Postings for logistics support dipped a little over the past fortnight but obviously remain at a very high level.
Jumping into the top five, after a particularly rough year, is food preparation. Postings for food preparation workers, which includes a variety of restaurant staff, are now up 84% on their pre-pandemic level. Restaurants are now operating at capacity, creating opportunities across the country.
While hiring is above its pre-pandemic level in most occupations, there are a handful where postings remain at low levels. Postings for veterinary roles are down 36% compared with their baseline on February 1 last year. Veterinary is a small occupational category and can therefore be quite volatile from week-to-week. The other area of weakness is hospitality & tourism, which continues to suffer from restrictions on domestic and international travel.
Postings for most of the ‘worst performing’ occupations are now either above last year’s baseline or have improved recently. That indicates that the hiring recovery continues to broaden.
Hiring activity in Australia remains elevated, with postings well above its pre-pandemic baseline. There has been a recent dip, which may relate to Easter or could be attributed to the end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme. This level of job postings, if it persists, would point to strong employment gains in the coming months.
All figures in this blogpost are the percentage change in seasonally-adjusted job postings since February 1, 2020, using a seven-day trailing average. February 1 last year is our pre-pandemic baseline. We seasonally adjust each series based on historical patterns in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Each series, including the national trend, occupational sectors, and sub-national geographies, is seasonally adjusted separately.
We adopted this new methodology in January 2021 and now use it to report all historical data. Historical numbers have been revised and may differ significantly from originally reported values. The new methodology applies a detrended seasonal adjustment factor to the percentage change in job postings. In contrast, our previous methodology used the 2019 change between February 1 and the reported date as the adjustment factor, which implicitly included both a seasonality component and the underlying trend.
This blogpost is based on publicly available information on the Indeed Australia website and any other countries if named in the post. Unless specified otherwise, it is limited to Australia, is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations.
Callam Pickering is an Economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab with a focus on Australia. Previously he was an economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia focusing on household spending and house prices. He also worked as the economic editor at online publications the Business Spectator and Eureka Report where he covered economic issues relating to Australia. Callam earned a Bachelor of economics and Accounting from Monash University.